Nancy Pelosi is making a lot of buzz around the corner after her visit to Taiwan Tuesday (August 2) evening. Her landing in Taiwan has ignited a diplomatic firestorm at such a level that angry China has announced military drills, missile launches, and sanctions on Taiwanese agricultural goods. This visit has triggered a fresh round of tension that risks pushing US-China relations to a new low.
But who is this ‘Nancy Pelosi’ and why China is infuriated over her visit to Taiwan?
Who is Nancy Pelosi?
The 82-year-old Nancy Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the House of Representatives, and also one of the most powerful politicians in the United States. She was re-elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the fourth term in 2021.
According to the website, NancyPelosi.com, she was the first woman to be elected as speaker of the House and lead the House of Representatives. She was re-elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives for the fourth term in 2021.
Nancy Patricia Pelosi also known as Nancy Pelosi was born on March 26, 1940, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father was a mayor. Pelosi was the only daughter and the youngest of seven children of her parents. She went to college in Washington and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. In her college, she met financier Paul Pelosi and married him. They moved to San Franciso after marriage where Pelosi was a housewife. The couple has five children – four daughters and a son.
Nancy was involved with politics from an early age. She started her political career in 1976 by being elected as a Democratic National Committee member from California, a position she would hold until 1996. Then in 1977, she was elected as party chair for Northern California.
For 35 years, Speaker Pelosi has represented San Francisco, California’s 12th District, in Congress. She has led House Democrats for 19 years and previously served as House Democratic Whip. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Seneca Falls, the birthplace of the American women’s rights movement.
She was the biggest opponent of the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, calling it a “grotesque mistake”. Her biggest moment, which still circulates as a popular GIF on the internet, came when she clapped sarcastically after former US President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in 2018. She also famously ripped up Trump’s speech in front of television cameras a year later.
A leader on conservation and the environment at home and abroad, Pelosi authored legislation to create the Presidio Trust and transform San Francisco’s former military post into an urban national park. She also secured passage of the “Pelosi Amendment” in 1989, now a global tool used to assess the potential environmental impacts of development.
China Taiwan controversy:
Taiwan is an island about 160 km off the coast of southeastern China, opposite the Chinese cities of Fuzhou, Quanzhou, and Xiamen. It was administered by the imperial Qing dynasty, but its control was passed to the Japanese in 1895. After the defeat of Japan in World War II, the island passed back into Chinese hands.
After the communists led by Mao Zedong won the civil war in mainland China, Chiang Kai-shek, the leader of the nationalist Kuomintang party, fled to Taiwan in 1949. Chiang Kai-shek set up the government of the Republic of China on the island and remained President until 1975.
Beijing has never recognized the existence of Taiwan as an independent political entity, arguing that it was always a Chinese province. Taiwan says that the modern Chinese state was only formed after the revolution of 1911, and it was not a part of that state or of the People’s Republic of China that was established after the communist revolution.
While the political tensions have continued, China and Taiwan have had economic ties. Many migrants from Taiwan work in China, and China has investments in Taiwan.
Why China is angry over Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan?
The US has maintained a ‘One China’ policy since the 1970s, under which it recognizes Taiwan as a part of China. But it has unofficial ties with Taiwan as well — a strategy that is known as strategic or deliberate ambiguity. Beijing considers Taiwan a part of China, threatens it frequently, and has not ruled out taking the island by military force at any time.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan comes days after China President Xi Jinping had over a phone call with President Biden, warned the US President of unspecified countermeasures should Pelosi’s Taiwan visit proceed.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was strictly slammed by China as it considered this visit ‘extremely dangerous and said it has seriously damaged peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Pelosi is on a tour of Asia that includes scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. Her stop in Taiwan was unannounced but widely anticipated.
Her delegation was greeted by Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, and Sandra Oudkirk, the top US representative in Taiwan.
Pelosi said that the visit to Taiwan “in no way contradicts” one-China policy.
In a tweet, she wrote: “I led a Congressional delegation to Taiwan to make crystal clear that America stands with the people of Taiwan – and all those committed to Democracy and human rights.”
I led a Congressional delegation to Taiwan to make crystal clear that America stands with the people of Taiwan – and all those committed to Democracy and human rights.
Check out this video of our historic visit to Taipei. pic.twitter.com/TON6zB3x4s
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 3, 2022
She further tweeted: “Our delegation had the distinct privilege of meeting with the President of Taiwan @Iingwen today. We discussed how America & Taiwan can deepen our economic ties, further strengthen our security partnership & defend our shared democratic values.”
Our delegation had the distinct privilege of meeting with the President of Taiwan @Iingwen today.
We discussed how America & Taiwan can deepen our economic ties, further strengthen our security partnership & defend our shared democratic values. pic.twitter.com/VL509UYK4x
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 3, 2022